Monday, February 13, 2006

Something "not true" from the Bible?

Justin Taylor highlights the church website that has Luke 4v7 as its tagline. I'm not convinced of the merits of Bible quotes as taglines. This one however shows up either terrible Biblical illiteracy, carelessness or a really postmodern approach to the Bible that is all too common. Some examples look harmless enough. This one surely shows up as a classic case of the need for context

Of course the section of Luke's gospel that this verse comes from is very important to any church. Its a section that is all about establishing that Jesus is the Son of God - by his genealogy, his baptism and his restsiting satans temptation. Any true church must surely proclaim Jesus, Son of God at the heart of its message. Worship him and gain eternal joy.... In the face of that, satan might offer the earth but he cannot deliver.

The Bible can be twisted to say that "there is no God", or that you should date someone called "joy". Its meaning can be totally perverted by treating it as something you can just grab a phrase from without treating it as a text that needs to be read in context. The Bible is not a disconnected encyclopedia of divine utterances... it is God's word, if we read it carefully in context.


  1. I flicked through the Bible this morning and found "Judas went and hanged himself". I didn't know what this meant so I flicked through again and found "Go now and do likewise"

    A while ago I read a nice piece about how the Devil says "it is written" and Jesus replies "it is also written" - that Satan will take any verse to suit his purposes but Jesus deals with Scripture as a whole.

    (Do you have Joy's phone number?)

  2. Wow... that really is a classic example of the need for context in our Bible reading!

    I'm not sure I'd want to be involved with a church that used that as a tagline... it puts an emphasis on gaining things from God rather than serving, if you know what I mean.

  3. The emphasis on gaining is less concerning than having a quote from satan as your tagline.

  4. Well... that too, of course!

  5. Probably its the false teaching of it that should flag it up as a bad quote in the first place - its error posing as truth... classic deception. Blatent error never catches on - people notice it. Its the subtle distortions that we must watch for.

  6. Update: the church in question has removed the quote graciously.